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The legitimacy of biofuel certification

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  • Lena Partzsch

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Abstract

The biofuel boom is placing enormous demands on existing cropping systems, with the most crucial consequences in the agri-food sector. The biofuel industry is responding by initiating private governance and certification. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and the Cramer Commission, among others, have formulated criteria on “sustainable” biofuel production and processing. This article explores the legitimacy of private governance and certification by the biofuel industry, highlighting opportunities and challenges. It argues that the concept of output based legitimacy is problematic in the case of biofuel as long as no consensus or commonly agreed “best” solution has been established on what sustainable biofuel production is. Furthermore, it shows that the private governance initiatives analyzed fail to adequately include actors from developing countries. Finally, the article argues that we need mechanisms for control and accountability in order to guarantee that the political output of biofuel certification serves the common welfare. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Suggested Citation

  • Lena Partzsch, 2011. "The legitimacy of biofuel certification," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 28(3), pages 413-425, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:agrhuv:v:28:y:2011:i:3:p:413-425
    DOI: 10.1007/s10460-009-9235-4
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    1. repec:spr:agrhuv:v:34:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10460-016-9737-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:enepol:v:109:y:2017:i:c:p:871-883 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Inge Stupak & Jamie Joudrey & C. Tattersall Smith & Luc Pelkmans & Helena Chum & Annette Cowie & Oskar Englund & Chun Sheng Goh & Martin Junginger, 2016. "A global survey of stakeholder views and experiences for systems needed to effectively and efficiently govern sustainability of bioenergy," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 89-118, January.
    4. Arthur P. J. Mol & Peter Oosterveer, 2015. "Certification of Markets, Markets of Certificates: Tracing Sustainability in Global Agro-Food Value Chains," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(9), pages 1-21, September.
    5. Laura Silva-Castañeda, 2012. "A forest of evidence: third-party certification and multiple forms of proof—a case study of oil palm plantations in Indonesia," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 29(3), pages 361-370, September.
    6. repec:spr:agrhuv:v:35:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10460-017-9816-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:806-817 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Pavel Castka & Charles J. Corbett, 2016. "Governance of Eco-Labels: Expert Opinion and Media Coverage," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 135(2), pages 309-326, May.
    9. Marin-Burgos, Victoria & Clancy, Joy S. & Lovett, Jon C., 2015. "Contesting legitimacy of voluntary sustainability certification schemes: Valuation languages and power asymmetries in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in Colombia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 303-313.
    10. Theresa Selfa & Carmen Bain & Renata Moreno, 2014. "Depoliticizing land and water “grabs” in Colombia: the limits of Bonsucro certification for enhancing sustainable biofuel practices," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 31(3), pages 455-468, September.
    11. repec:bla:glopol:v:8:y:2017:i:1:p:5-13 is not listed on IDEAS

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